While it is true that good health and weight loss result from burning more calories than you consume, the reality is that it a near-impossible goal for many of us. With all the powerful signals to eat, you feel virtually powerless to correct the bad habits and lose weight sensibly. However, by turning the hunger switch off with the right foods, you can gain control of your appetite and achieve your weight loss goals, at the fitness level you desire.1
The best way to beat a craving is to eat a handful of nuts with two glasses of water. Nuts are nutrient dense snacks; they help curb cravings and act as natural appetite suppressants. Walnuts, in particular, are rich in plant-based omega-3 fats that help to curb cravings, among other benefits. They are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids which may improve blood lipids and other cardiovascular risks owing to the antioxidant capacity and inflammatory markers and have no adverse effects on body weight and make you feel quite satiated.2 But we before dive into it, it’s important to understand a few basics.
How To Deal With A Craving
Resisting a craving can be quite challenging. When you regularly eat a high carbohydrate diet, the brain will start giving out strong signals to consume carbohydrates, resulting in cravings for these foods. It becomes difficult to resist the messages as you will never feel satisfied or full from eating other foods.
You should also know how to differentiate between hunger and cravings. Cravings are a plea from the brain for something pleasurable, and hunger is the body signaling that it needs nutritional support. If you cannot differentiate between these, you may end up gobbling more sugary foods and furthering the cravings. The trick is to eat the right foods and healthy snacks at the right time to overcome the craving and at the same time satisfy your hunger pangs.3
Foods To Curb Cravings
1. Walnuts – The Wonder Food
If you are on the lookout for tasty options for curbing your hunger pangs, choose an assortment of nuts as a healthy snack in between meals. One handful of nuts and seeds contains approximately 90 calories. In particular, walnuts host a wide array of health benefits. In addition to essential fatty acids, walnuts contain a variety of other bioactive compounds such as vitamin E and polyphenols.4
Walnuts are rich sources of vitamins B and E, calcium, manganese, potassium, and protein. This superfood is considered to be nourishment for the brain because it improves your mental function significantly. Walnuts also contain alpha-linoleic omega-3 fatty acids which can curb food cravings and aid weight loss. Eating a handful of walnuts every day is recommended to lower LDL levels and to improve overall lipid profile.5
2. Slow-Releasing Carbohydrate-Rich Food – An Alternative To Nut Allergies
If you have a nut allergy, you need to strictly avoid nuts and foods containing nuts and nut oils to prevent allergic reactions. To prevent nut allergy and to include foods that are tasty as well as curb cravings, slow-releasing carb foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, pulses, whole grains, brown rice, oats, and quinoa are some of the best choices that are available. These foods should make up half to two-thirds of what you eat or around 50 to 65 percent of your total calorie intake.
Fast-releasing foods such as refined foods release their glucose quicker, giving you a sudden burst of energy followed by a slump when you end up craving sweet foods to satiate the hunger. Slow-releasing carbs, on the other hand, release their glucose over time, so you get a sustained flow of energy over a more extended period.
Beans, lentils, and grains such as quinoa and oats contain protein as well as complex carbohydrates making you feel full for longer. Fresh fruit and veggies are also a good fiber and nutrient-rich source of low glycemic carbs. Fruit contains a type of sugar called fructose, which takes longer for the body to break down than foods made with refined sugar.6
3. Plain Tea, Coffee And Herbal Teas – An Alternative To Dairy Or Gluten Allergy
Everyday beverages are the best option if you are prone to dairy or gluten allergies. In addition to water, any plain tea that stimulates digestion is good. Herb teas such as peppermint, ginger, and chamomile as well as green tea are highly recommended. Sweetened teas with natural sweeteners such as raw honey or maple syrup may help stop sugar cravings and enhance your feeling of satiety. Other beverages such as regular or decaf coffee or hot chocolate are good to have on days of high-protein, low-carb meals to satisfy the hunger between the meals. You should also take adequate water for proper functioning of all metabolic systems. Without enough water, nutrient assimilation plummets, toxins are not eliminated, and the fat-burning process slows down.
Starting your day with a glass or two of pure water with lemon if desirable, is a great way to kick off clean eating for the day and a perfect way to detox your body and to suppress your appetite.7
Eating walnuts can boost your willpower and stop you from craving for unhealthy foods. Walnuts promote a feeling of fullness as the intake of these nuts lights up the part of the brain linked to cognitive control for hunger. If you happen to have an allergy to nuts, gluten or dairy, then opting for slow-release carb-rich food and plain beverages or herbal teas will help to suppress the appetite and keep you satiated for long.
|↑1||Murray, Michael T., and Michael R. Lyon. Hunger Free Forever: The New Science of Appetite Control. Simon and Schuster, 2008.|
|↑2||Banel, Deirdre K., and Frank B. Hu. “Effects of walnut consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis and systematic review.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 90, no. 1 (2009): 56-63.|
|↑3||Jamieson, Alexandra. “Women, Food and Desire: Embrace Your Cravings, Make Peace with Food, Reclaim Your Body.” Hachette UK, 2015.|
|↑4||Sánchez-González, Claudia, Carlos J. Ciudad, Veronique Noe, and Maria Izquierdo-Pulido. “Health benefits of walnut polyphenols: An exploration beyond their lipid profile.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 57, no. 16 (2017): 3373-3383.|
|↑5||Westen, Robin. “The 2-Day Superfood Cleanse: A Weekly Detox Program to Boost Energy, Lose Weight and Maintain Optimal Health.” Ulysses Press, 2014.|
|↑6||Holford, Patrick and Campos, Susannah and Lawson, Susannah. “Optimum Nutrition Made Easy: The simple way to achieve optimum health.” Hachette UK, 2010.|
|↑7||Hofmekler, Ori. The Warrior Diet: Switch on Your Biological Powerhouse for High Energy, Explosive Strength, and a Leaner, Harder Body. Blue Snake Books, 2007.|